By Fred Kamp
Photos by John Shenk
The Geezers are back from their 2008 Spring Tour, May 17 – 22, in Cleburne, TX. Cleburne is a town of about 30,000 people about 30 miles SW of Ft. Worth and about 15 miles west of the Alvarado exit on I-35W. The riding was based upon the annual Goatneck Tour which goes west from Cleburne to the little town of Glen Rose and back via another route. This loop produces a metric century. The Tour also has several shorter loops. The Geezers used various pieces of that Tour. In addition, a ride east from Cleburne to the little town of Alvarado was mapped.
Although some arrived on Saturday, by Sunday evening the group had peaked at 19 Geezers. They were: Joe Bauman, Ivory and Maxine Grayson, Jim and Joanna Gregg, Anne Hitchcock, Jana Johnston, Fred and Bonnie Kamp, Larry and Betty Menz, Fenton and Linda Ramey, Tom and Karen Russell, John and Kay Shenk, and Steve and Cynthia Wade.
The Greggs and the Russells rode tandems. The Wades, Ivory, and John rode recumbents. Fenton, Joe, Jana, the Menzes, and I rode real bicycles. Maxine, Bonnie, Anne, Kay, and Linda did not ride but were on emergency SAG standby. For a variety of reasons the group dwindled away until only the Shenks and Joe were left by Thursday afternoon.
There were no flats, one minor spill, and one damaged crank. The routes were pretty hilly, and temperature and wind became factors. The riders started together each day but soon divided into two groups: the “get’er done group,” and the “smell the roses group.” I only observed the adventures of the “roses” group, which was composed of me, Fenton, the Wades, and sometimes Ivory.
The first set of adventures occurred Sunday on a ride around Cleburne Lake. I had made the maps for the Tour and managed to get our group lost twice, adding about 4 miles to a 22 mile ride. I was leniently treated.
On Monday we started a 32-mile round trip to Alvarado. This time, the “get’er done” group missed the mapped route, but actually found a better route. Once more I was leniently treated. When we got to Alvarado (16 miles) we found that the “get’er done” group was milling around trying to find a non- existent restaurant that I had directed them to. But they found a better one. There was a little background snarling. There were two tables of us in the restaurant and good old Joe picked up our whole tab. Ivory left early to find a machine shop to tighten his crank. We were pretty tired from fighting the hills on the way over, so Fenton decided to stay a while and rest up. He was still recovering from surgery. So we left him to rot, and the remnants of the “roses” group started back, this time into the wind. Ivory had slowed down for us and we soon caught up with him. He was still having crank problems so we left him to rot. About six miles on the return, on about the third or fourth hill, an uncanny thing happened. I had turned 80 the week before and was somewhat disappointed that the wisdom that is supposed to come with age had not kicked in. Struggling towards the top of the hill, I glanced down at my computer, which has a temperature feature, and noticed that it indicated 102 degrees. Suddenly a flood of wisdom swept over me and I headed for the shade on the road side at the top of the hill. After resting a bit, I called Bonnie. Soon, Ivory arrived and didn’t appear to be much rotted. We talked a while and I assumed that he wanted to SAG in. Then Fenton arrived and no rot was noticed. Fenton thought that SAGing in was a good idea. At which point Ivory, seeing that we were well taken care of, started back, leaving us to rot. Bonnie and Anne, who were looking at antiques in a nearby town, arrived and we were saved. We eventually passed Ivory, entering town. He declined our offer of a ride and made it back under his own power. Meanwhile Steve and Cynthia (really just Cynthia) had a brush with death. They were considerably ahead of us and were passed (in a no passing zone) by a speeding 18 wheeler. As he started to pass, an oncoming car appeared and he locked up his brakes and tried to maneuver to save the day. Somehow he missed Cynthia. Steve was shaken by the incident.
On Tuesday the Rameys, the Kamps, and Anne went shopping in the Hillsboro Mall, about 30 minutes from Cleburne. The rest of the group rode to Cleburne State Park (where Joe was camping) and back. They then drove to Glen Rose and then to the Dinosaur Valley State Park about 5 miles from Glen Rose.
Wednesday, Fenton and I took a short ride while the rest of the group rode around the lake again. Then the Rameys and the Kamps drove to Glen Rose and Dinosaur Valley.
Thursday the group rode around the lake in the opposite direction to minimize a head wind. Fenton took a short early ride. I didn’t ride. Everyone who was left departed except Joe and the Shenks.
Every evening we would gather to help the Greggs, the Menzes, and the Shenks reduce the amount of wine they would otherwise have to take home. They had realized that Cleburne is in a dry county and brought a goodly supply. We would also determine the next day’s ride, and agree where to go for dinner.
Apparently everyone made it safely home. We are now discussing where to take our Fall Tour. So far Albuquerque or the Katy Trail seem to be the favorites. Let me know if you want in the loop. firstname.lastname@example.org